It is illegal to possess a switchblade knife under California Penal Code Section 21510. Obviously, Los Angeles County has so many issues with weapons and guns that if the police catch you with a switchblade knife, they're definitely going to arrest you and charge you with that crime.
Description of a Switchblade Knife
As far as trying to figure out the difference between a switchblade knife and maybe a pocket knife for example. A switchblade is something that can be automatically released and obviously, the purpose of it is to conceal it and use it in an illegal manner, whereas a pocket knife folds.
You have use your hand to manually open it up. So, the aspect of the switchblade knife that obviously is being looked at by the prosecutors and police, and even a judge is, the fact that you can conceal it, bring it out, use it in a confrontation.
If they find out that you're possessing a switchblade knife then they're going to look at why you're possessing it. If you're possessing it to “protect yourself,” you can bet your bottom dollar you're going to be prosecuted and you're going to be looking at up to six months in jail for possession of a switchblade knife.
It's a misdemeanor crime. Definitely something you don't want to have on your criminal record in Los Angeles or California or anywhere because of the consequences to you when you go look for a job or someone runs your criminal background they are going to be able to find that possession of a switchblade knife on your record.
Defenses To Possession Of A Switchblade Knife
One defense is that the knife is not operable – meaning it doesn't operate as a switchblade, even though originally it operated as a switchblade knife, it doesn't anymore and therefore, it's not serving the purpose of being dangerous to be able to whip it out and use it in a confrontation.
If something is looking like a pocket knife versus a switchblade knife that would be a defense. In other words, someone has to actually manually open it up and it has different uses than a switchblade knife.
The problem with a switchblade knife is its main purpose from a law enforcement-prosecutor standpoint is to be used in a deadly confrontation, and obviously if you stab somebody with a knife you can kill them. That's what they are concerned about.
Again, a lot of people say, I wasn't going to use the switchblade knife. Somebody gave it to me as a gift. It's something like an antique – there's some other reason that they're not holding it for purposes of actually using it in a violent confrontation.
This would not be a defense to possession of a switchblade knife, because it's just the mere fact that you're possessing it and that you have it that makes it illegal and is subjecting you to punishment.
If you add on top of that the fact that the switchblade knife is being possessed to be used in a deadly way, like you're headed to a fight with a switchblade knife or you're claiming that you're carrying it for your protection.
This is what a lot of people say when they're pulled over by the police and some sort of a deadly weapon is found on them in Los Angeles, in that case it's even going to be worse for you and you have a good chance of getting some jail time because that's the exact reason they don't want people possessing switchblade knifes.
Steps to Take if Charged with Possession of a Switchblade Knife
Your best procedure is to get in front of a criminal defense attorney who has represented who have been charged with this crime before.
When I meet with people, we go over everything. We go over the circumstances of the police finding it. Maybe it was an illegal search and we can use that as a defense.
Once we determine whether or not the police illegally obtained the switchblade knife from you, the next thing we're going to do is if we have to fight the case, or we're going to have to negotiate the case, we need to talk about why you had the knife.
We need to look at the knife and how it will look to the prosecutors if they get their hands on it and can actually see it. Obviously, the more dangerous it looks to them, the more they will be concerned that you were going to use it for some illegal purpose and hurt somebody.
They're going to want to punish you and put precautions on you, so you can't be in a position to hurt another member of the community. One of the biggest things that the prosecutors are tasked to do in seeking justice is to protect the general public.
So, if you've got a switchblade knife in Los Angeles, they are going to be looking at you as somebody who they need to be concerned about and they're going to put certain probationary terms on you – for example, you're not allowed to own, use or possess a deadly weapon – not just a switchblade knife but other weapons as well.
Negotiation with the Prosecutor
So, what I'm interested in doing is getting your version of events out. I'm interested in strategizing with you in the beginning to figure out what our best course of action is and then once we know what it is, I'm going to tell you what you can do to help me. I'll let you know what I'm going to do to help you.
This will help you because you're going to have an idea of what you're up against and what you're looking at and what you're facing, and then you can do what you can to help me by getting character letters.
For example and giving me a factual scenario that I can talk to the judge and the prosecutor about so we can end up getting you the best resolution that protects your rights, your freedom, your reputation and your criminal record. Call the Hedding law Firm to review your case.
For more information on Possession Of Switchblade Knife, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (213) 542-0979 today.